James Bell is the Founder and Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute.
The Burns Institute has worked in over 200 counties in 23 states to engage justice stakeholders and communities across the country to build equity in the administration of justice. He has trained and addressed thousands of human services professionals and community members on a vision of well-being as the preferred and most effective way to achieve community safety.
James has extensive experience in the international justice arena: he assisted the African National Congress in the administration of the juvenile justice system in South Africa and consulted with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. He has worked with government officials and activists on the human rights of children and restorative justice in Cambodia, Kenya, Brazil, New Zealand and China
Vincent Schiraldi is a renowned leader in the field of criminal and juvenile justice. He is a Senior Research Fellow directing the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). The founder of the Justice Policy Institute, Schiraldi moved into government as director of juvenile corrections in Washington, DC, and then as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation. Most recently Schiraldi served as Senior Advisor to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
In Washington and New York Schiraldi gained a national reputation as a fearless reformer who emphasized the humane and decent treatment of the men, women, and children under his correctional supervision. For Schiraldi, making communities safer and reducing crime necessarily means improving fairness in the system and developing opportunities in the poor communities where the crime problem is most serious. He pioneered efforts at community-based alternatives to incarceration with the YouthLink initiative in Washington DC, in New York City with the NeON network and the Close to Home program.
Candice Jones is the Senior Advisor to Arne Duncan, the former Secretary of Education appointed by President Barack Obama. Jones is working with the Emerson Collective to help reduce violence in Chicago.
Candice recently served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, appointed by the Governor to lead the statewide juvenile justice system.
Jones has a long line of experience in the field of juvenile justice and at-risk youth. As an Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, she managed the public safety budget and supported the executive team’s policy and planning. She also worked for years, driving juvenile justice strategy in Illinois and nationwide, as a Program Officer at the MacArthur Foundation. She has previously served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission where she worked to accelerate reform. In 2012, Jones served as a White House Fellow, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious fellowship programs for leadership and public service.
Alex Busansky is the founder and President of Impact
Justice, a national innovation and research center that is committed to improving the juvenile and adult criminal justice system. Alex began his career as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 1987. During his twelve years at the district attorney’s office, he handled homicides, serious domestic violence and other family violence, and sex abuse cases. In 1998, , Alex left New York City to work for the US Department of Justice in Washington,
DC where he became a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division. In 2002, he served as counsel to Senator Russ Feingold on the US Senate Judiciary Committee. In 2004, Alex joined the Vera Institute of Justice as executive director of the Commission on Safety and Abuse for America’s Prisons. Alex also served as an adjunct professor at American University School of Law, co-teaching the Prosecution Seminar.
In 2010, Alex joined the National Council on Crime & Delinquency as President. During his tenure, Alex led NCCD to become a leading organization working at the forefront of criminal justice innovations. He and his team built several groundbreaking initiatives including the Restorative Justice Project, the PREA Resource Center, the Media for a Just Society Awards and the Pay for Success initiative. He also expanded the reach of NCCD to include the launch of a Washington, DC office. In 2011 he served as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Jail Violence.
Javier is the co-founder and Executive Director of Healing Dialogue and Action, a unique organization working to heal and work to change the criminal justice system so it is one that respects and offers an opportunity for transformation for victims, offenders, and families.
He has spent his entire career serving supporting and caring for young people in the juvenile justice system, survivors of crime, and families of both. Prior to joining HDA, Javier served as the Co-Director of the Office of Restorative Justice (ORJ) of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1992-2015, where he oversaw the largest Catholic detention ministry program in the nation, as well as the ORJ victim’s ministry. In addition to his direct work with thousands of youth, Javier’s advocacy has been instrumental in the passage of new laws to reform California’s juvenile justice system.
Javier has received international recognition for his life’s work, including being commended in Sweden by the World’s Children’s Prize for his advocacy work with incarcerated youth and victims of crime. He is also the first United States citizen to receive the international award from Human Right Watch.
Scott Budnick is the Founder and President of The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, a unique non-profit organization that provides a support network for formerly incarcerated young men and women, and advocates for fairer criminal justice policies.
As Executive Vice President of Green Hat Films, Scott executive produced many successful comedies including the highest grossing rated-R comedies in history, THE HANGOVER series.Outside of film, Scott is a fierce champion for children in need.
Scott is a teacher and on the Advisory Board for InsideOUT Writers, is a board member of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and on the Advisory board for the Loyola Law School, Center for Juvenile Law and Policy.For his work with youth in the criminal justice system, Governor Jerry Brown named Scott California’s Volunteer of the Year for 2012. In August of 2013, Scott was appointed to the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) by the Speaker of the California Assembly. In 2014, Gov. Brown appointed Budnick to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.
Leah Wilson is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the State Bar of California. In that capacity, she manages a $165 million budget and 600 staff, who are responsible for regulation, licensing, and discipline of California attorneys. Prior to her appointment to that position in September, 2015, she served as the Court Executive Officer (CEO) for the Alameda County Superior Court. In addition to being responsible for overall court operations, , personnel, budget and policy, she took a particular interest in collaborative courts,
and advocated for the use of risk assessment tools and an expansion of effective alternatives to incarceration. Before joining the Superior Court, Ms. Wilson served as a Principal Analyst for the Alameda County Administrator, where she had responsibility for several Public Safety departments, and represented the County Administrator on the leadership team managing the county’s implementation of Criminal Justice Realignment.
Ms. Wilson holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and a Juris Doctorate, both from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the California State Bar. She also formerly served as President of the Berkeley Unified School District’s elected Board of Education.
Arnold Perkins retired as director of the Alameda County Public Health Department in Oakland, a
position he held since 1994. As director of the Alameda County Health Department, which has a budget of $105 million and more than 600 employees, Perkins provided leadership and management of the department’s administrative, program and policy activities. Arnold has a wealth of experience, including working as a high school teacher, counselor, and principal; a non-profit organization executive director;
family counselor and advocate; foundation program officer; college professor and administrator; and restaurant owner and operator.
Mr. Perkins is an experienced speaker and facilitator, especially in the areas of organizational change, team building, creative leadership, community development and group dynamics. He has received many awards and recognitions for his community work from groups including the United Way of the Bay Area, the Center for Independent Living and the San Francisco Foundation. Mr. Perkins also serves on several Board of Directors, including the California Wellness Foundation and previously for The California Endowment.